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Published: Sunday, 12/4/2005

Port Authority exec was devoted to job

Norman A. Fox, 76, a retired trade development director for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, died of cancer on Thursday in the Hospice of Northwest Ohio in South Toledo.

Mr. Fox retired from the port authority in 1992 after 30 years of service, many of them as trade development director. He was hired by the agency in 1962 as an assistant to the trade director and then rose through the ranks.

"Norm was probably the most knowledgeable person about the Great Lakes shipping industry," said John Loftus, the former seaport director for the port authority who is a special assistant to Mayor Jack Ford.

"He really kind of grew with the modern seaway system, and he knew it as well, if not better, as anybody else."

In retirement, Mr. Fox worked as a part-time consultant to the port authority for nine years until his full retirement about 2001.

"He was a nice, laid-back guy who was involved in seaport matters," said Gary Berger, director of finance for the port authority, who said he knew Mr. Fox in the late 1990s.

To promote business for the port authority, Mr. Fox traveled extensively over the years in the United States, Canada, and overseas, including Europe, Japan, and Morocco.

"He was totally devoted to work," his wife of 56 years, Marilyn Fox, said. "He spent so much time traveling that he was gone for days on end. Until he retired, he devoted most of his life to his work."

His son, Terry Fox, remembered Mr. Fox being gone for weeks at a time, especially on his overseas trips.

"I know he had called on ports all over the world," Terry Fox said.

Mr. Fox was a member of such professional associations as the Toledo Area International Trade Association, the Council of Lake Erie Ports, and the Propeller Club.

Prior to his career at the port authority, Mr. Fox was a transportation clerk for General Foods Corp. and then an assistant transportation manager for the former Jeep Corp.

A Toledo native, he graduated from Woodward High School and attended the University of Toledo before serving for three years in the National Guard.

In retirement, Mr. Fox, who enjoyed fishing, bowling, and golfing as a young man, continued to travel. His favorite destinations included Maine, Vermont, North Carolina, and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. He also liked to work in his garden.

Mr. Fox was a member of St. Patrick of Heatherdowns Catholic Church and the Maumee Elks.

Surviving are his wife, Marilyn Fox; daughter, Karen Kemper; son, Terry Fox; seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow in the Walter Funeral Home, where visitation will take place after 2 p.m. today.

The family suggests tributes to the Hospice of Northwest Ohio or St. Patrick of Heatherdowns Catholic Church.



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